To be mainstream, or not to be mainstream. That is the question.
As a communications major (and especially as a journalist), I am enthralled by this inclusive, all-encompassing, addicting world we’ve created on social media. Gen X and Baby Boomers are constantly stumped by Instagram and Twitter, citing them as silly and egotistical. But we’re really not that hard to figure out! Every choice that millennials make can be traced back to one underlying desire: inclusivity.
It’s the reason we buy Kylie Jenner Lip Kits, post incessantly about current events, tag our friends in memes and Snapchat every part of our weekends. Some call it mainstream conformity and mindless following, but I don’t think that’s it at all. It’s not that we devalue individualization — it’s that we’ve created this web of people, people who share the same humor and desires and political views, and it’s an absolute thrill. It encompasses more than just our immediate circle of friends — it encompasses every millennial who has a computer, a Twitter, a voice. And it’s incredible.
It’s why people hop on board so quickly when shows like “Game of Thrones” go viral, or start hashtagging #TakeAKnee when the National Anthem gets sung during the Patriots/Texans game. We are all eager and excited to be a part of this culture, this movement that we have created on our phones in between classes and fostered in every group chat we’re in. We’re all a part of this grand, collective something on social media. It’s not definable, and it’s not quite tangible, but everyone feels it bursting from the ends of their fingertips as we type quickly, deliberately, clumsily, not quick enough.
“It” is another one of those cultural phenomenons happening right now, but this one is special. Just like “Game of Thrones,” it’s success is based off of the fact that it thrives as a cross-generational adventure. I can remember so vividly my Dad reading Stephen King novels on the beaches of Cape Cod, a native New Englander finding pleasure in between the pages of someone who shared such a similar upbringing to himself, and I can remember the first time I read the pages of a King novel myself, the book “11.22.63” sitting heavily in my hands. And although there are things about his generation I will never understand, and things about my generation he will never understand, “It” is where we come together.
So, why have I seen it three times? Because of the soul of this film: the Loser’s Club. These kids, these kids, these kids. The boys (and Beverly, of course, played by Sophia Lillis) are not only hilarious and awkwardly adorable, but the Loser’s Club is jam-packed with a group chemistry so special it’s unmistable. As someone who spent her entire upbringing hanging out as the only girl with her older brother and his friends, this cast’s humor, friendship and weirdness resonates with me hardcore. And I’m sure it resonates with others hardcore, too — running around outdoors, summertime freedom, mischief and trouble-making, childhood crushes and timid first kisses. But these themes are timeless and faceless. There is a reason why both my Dad and I can find common ground in the land of Derry, New Hampshire, the film’s setting. There’s something more to “It” than just hilarity and nostalgia — it’s this feeling that, no matter what, we’re all in this together.
That is why we are addicted to films like “It” and talking about films like “It” and blogging about films like “It” and re-watching films like “It.” We are a generation of inclusivity, relatability and discussion. We are a collective voice, a voice heard over social media and through our earphones, and our culture feeds off of this cohesive, collaborative, fluid network of the people like us. And we invite everyone, no matter what generation, to join in on this web of something that we’ve spun.
So, to quote Richie (Finn Wolfhard) at the film’s climax, “Welcome to the Loser’s Club.”